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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships
Illness in the Consulting Room:
Working with people who present life-threatening conditions in therapy

With Sue Cowan-Jenssen, Dorothy Judd and Julia Segal

Saturday 2 December 2017 - London

The diagnosis of a life-threatening illness will fill almost any individual with terror as they face the fear of dying and the process of death. Cancer in particular arouses huge anxieties. Even though half those diagnosed with cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more, the fear of not being one of those survivors, the adjustment of identity of shifting from a healthy person to being seriously ill, the rigours of treatment and the resulting shift in dynamics of that person's relationships - including that with their therapist - form a potentially overwhelming constellation of events that are a profound threat to the self.

Cancer, of course, is not the only life-threatening illness that the person in therapy may face. During the course of a therapy any system of the body can give way to illness. Alternatively, someone may seek therapy specifically because they are ill. In either event, the psychotherapist needs to have some internal clarity about what illness means to her or him, and their own fears relating to the inevitable failing of the human body over time so they are not thrown into an extreme state of identification or disidentification with the patient and can stay open to their needs. This day offers presentations by three therapists who have worked deeply with these themes. It is designed to air some of the issues faced by both patient and therapist when illness comes into the consulting room and skills for dealing with this.


Sue Cowan-Jenssen
Sue Cowan-Jenssen is a psychotherapist who has worked in private practice in London for thirty years. She worked part-time for five years as a senior psychotherapist at the Trauma Unit of Watford General Hospital. She has specialist trainings in working with trauma, serious illness and bereavement and is an accredited EMDR Consultant. She is a founder member of the Relational School and the London Psychotherapy and Trauma Centre. She has written for books, journals and websites. Her writing covers a wide range of issues from how psychotherapy works to understanding the impact of our competitive culture on our sense of self.. More >>

Dorothy Judd
Dorothy Judd first trained as a child and adolescent psychotherapist (Tavistock Clinic), and later as an adult psychotherapist (also at the Tavistock Clinic), and a marital psychotherapist. She was principal child psychotherapist at University College Hospital and Middlesex Hospital, on the adolescent oncology unit and the paediatric ward. She is the author of Give Sorrow Words: working with a dying child, (Karnac, now in its 3rd Edition.) She co-edited, with Aleda Erskine, The Imaginative Body: psychodynamic approaches to health care, (Whurr, publishers). She has written chapters and papers over a number of years on working with children with physical disability, and illness including terminal illness...More >>

Julia Segal
Julia Segal is a Fellow of BACP. She trained with Relate and for the past 25 years has been counselling people with neurological conditions and members of their families, using the ideas of Melanie Klein to understand and illuminate everyday experience. She has also always been interested in the effects on professionals of working with people who have neurological conditions, and has run many workshops for professionals in different settings. She has written extensively on the effects of illness on relationships... More >>


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Self-funded: £130
Self-funded x 2: £200
Organisationally-funded: £200
CPD Hours

Certificates of attendance for 6 hours will be provided at the event

Tavistock Centre
120 Belsize Lane

09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
11:15 Coffee
13:00 Lunch
16:00 Tea
16:30 End